Animals Retired from Research

Issues-Animals-Retired-from-ResearchThe Issue

More often than not, animals used in research are euthanized once they are no longer needed for experiments or breeding. These former “research tools” are all-too-infrequently placed into sanctuaries after research has ended. In those rare instances when an appropriate sanctuary is sought or a university is willing to make animals available for adoption, financial resources are needed to provide veterinary care, housing or transport. Concerns that these animals will simply be replaced with new research subjects must also be addressed.


In response to growing requests for assistance to save animals threatened by natural and human-made disasters, including opportunities to retire animals from research facilities, and inspired by the compassion and generosity of our supporters, NAVS established a Sanctuary Fund to ensure that resources would be available when needed most.

The NAVS Sanctuary Fund is used to help ensure permanent, lifetime care for all of the animals involved in these rescue efforts. Not only does this important work save lives, it proves that every animal’s life is worth saving, and that no animal should be subjected to abandonment, neglect or cruel exploitation.

Over the years, NAVS has provided critical assistance to former research animals in need of safe haven. We supported the founding of Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, giving chimpanzees used in federally-funded research the opportunity to live the remainder of their lives in peace. The NAVS Sanctuary Fund also supports the retirement and ongoing care of chimpanzees used in private research, helping them retire to appropriate facilities around the country. In addition, horses have been rescued from Premarin farms, while other nonhuman primates, rabbits, rats and pigs have also been provided safe haven.

How NAVS Helps

NAVS’ commitment to animals used in science doesn’t end at the laboratory door. Until the archaic and cruel practice of vivisection is banned outright, NAVS strongly advocates for the retirement of research animals to appropriate facilities that are specially equipped for providing rehabilitation, socialization and enrichment.

We do this in two key ways. First, through the NAVS Sanctuary Fund, we award grants to organizations taking in animals released from laboratories. Additionally, NAVS supports and advocates on behalf of legislation that would require adoptable dogs and cats used in research to be adopted out, rather than euthanized.